KARNS CITY, Pa. (EYT/D9) — Marra Patton rounded the bases. As she approached home plate, she began to dance.
“The Griddy.” A move that has become popular with celebrating athletes.
(Marra Patton, left, and Rossi McMillen combined to hit three of Karns City’s four home runs Monday night)
Patton had plenty to celebrate Monday night.
The senior hit a pair of towering home runs, including a solo bomb in the bottom of the sixth inning that ended the game, as the Karns City softball team downed very young Redbank Valley, 10-0, at Diehl Stadium.
“I love hitting ‘The Griddy,’” Patton said, smile beaming. “That’s a new thing for us this year.”
There may be lots of Griddy-ing from the Gremlins this season.
Karns City (2-1) hit four home runs in the game. Patton’s first blast, a two-run shot, came in the bottom of the second inning to give the Gremlins a 2-0 lead.
Senior Rossi McMillen hit her first career home run in the bottom of the fourth to put Karns City up 3-0, and sophomore Jada Polczynski, the No. 9 hitter in the potent Gremlin lineup, also homered.
“We’re very solid one-through-nine,” Patton said.
Patton also got the win in the circle, going five innings with four strikeouts and one walk. She gave up just one hit, a single up the middle by Keyanna Schimp in the top of the third.
Ally Walker struck out the side in her one inning of work in the sixth.
But the night belonged to the long ball.
For McMillen, who also tripled in two runs in the fifth to complete her three-RBI evening, it was a long time coming.
“It feels really good because it’s always hit either the top of the fence or the bottom of the fence or right in front of the fence,” McMillen said, laughing. “It never has gone over the fence until tonight.”
McMillen’s homer was a line drive that cleared the temporary wall on a rope. Karns City plays its home softball games on the football field and her homer traveled about 75 yards in football terms.
It was also a relief because the senior has gotten off to a slow start this season.
“I haven’t hit too well yet,” McMillen said. “It felt good to get that home run.”
McMillen is a rare four-sport star. She was the goalie on the Karns City District 9 championship soccer team in the fall. In the winter, she was a standout on the basketball team and this springs he plays softball and also is on the track and field team.
“Coming from soccer and having a two-day break before basketball and then having maybe a week break between basketball and softball and track — it’s sometimes hard on my body,” McMillen said. “But I get through it because I love it. I would have played volleyball, too, but that overlaps too much with soccer, so I had to choose one.”
Polczynski’s home run almost never happened.
Karns City coach Mike Stitt was set to pinch hit for Polczynski in the fifth, but the player he had in mind to bat thought he meant in the next inning. So instead, Polczynski grabbed a bat and slugged a no-doubter to left.
“I’m like, ‘You need to go to that person and thank them,’” Stitt said, chuckling.
“I just love that girl. She is a sophomore and she has so much energy,” Stitt added about Polczynski. “She’s quick. I mean, I think I have one of the fastest outfields (with Addie Christie in left, McMillen in center and Polczynski in right). Jada just impressed me from day one. I love watching her play. She struggled a little bit last year, but we kept working with her.”
It was also Polczynski’s first career home run. She did hit one during a scrimmage this season.
Karns City dropped its first game this year to a very good Freeport team out of District 7 and then bounced back with a big 7-3 win over Jamestown on Saturday. Ashley Fox homered in that win.
“We have power,” Stitt said. “We’re a tough team. There’s no weak spot in our lineup.”
For Redbank Valley, which graduated 10 seniors from last year’s team and had a total of four at-bats and zero innings pitched returning this season, there was plenty to be happy about — even in a 10-0 loss.
Freshman Mackenzie Foringer pitched well, mixing up her wide array of pitches and throwing strikes. Foringer walked just one and gave up four earned runs in five-plus innings. The right-hander was haunted by the homers.
“She’s gonna keep us in a lot of ballgames,” said first-year Redbank Valley coach Lee Miller. “She throws four or five different pitches and she throws them well. A couple of them she hung tonight — all four home runs came off the same pitch. It’ll come. She’s a workhorse.”
Another freshman, Taylor Ripple, made several stellar defensive plays at shortstop.
“The score doesn’t really reflect how we played. We were pleased,” Miller said. “Karns City is probably the best team in the KSAC, so I thought it was a good showing against them for our first game.”